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Snooki, ‘New Celebrity Apprentice’ contestant, fired up to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger


Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi faces off against Laila Ali on "The New Celebrity Apprentice." Photo Credit: Luis Trinh/NBC

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is looking for work.

The 29-year-old “Jersey Shore” star is one of the contestants on “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” where she’s facing off against 15 famous folks — including comedian Jon Lovitz, singers Carnie Wilson and Boy George, athletes Ricky Williams, Laila Ali and Erick Dickerson and more — to win money for charity.

The new in the show’s title comes from the replacement host, former California governor and superstar actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who took over for President-elect Donald Trump, after NBC cut ties with him for controversial comments he made during his campaign. Trump remains an executive producer.

amNewYork spoke with Polizzi about the show, which premieres on Jan. 2.

How has your background in reality TV prepared you for this new challenge?

I feel like nothing really prepares you for a competition challenge like this because you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know who’s going to be on the show. I think I definitely had a one-up when it came to doing reality. ... I knew the premise of how it’s going to be when it comes to reality. Some of them really didn’t because some are actors, others are athletes. You kind of have a one-up if you do reality already. You know what to expect when it comes to getting mic’d and not saying things because you know you’re mic’d. Just stuff like that. When it came to the actual competition, you know, you’re not really prepared.

Was this your first time meeting Arnold?

Yes. And I was very excited because I’ve always been a huge fan of him. It was exciting to be able to meet one of your favorite actors of all time.

Was there a favorite moment with him that you can reveal?

He was just always very sweet to me. Anytime I see him, I think he just loves the fact that I’m so short. Because he’s so tall and big. Anytime I’m around him, he just loves to stand by me and feel superior.

Just like Danny DeVito in “Twins.”


You had a lot of competitors. Was there anyone who surprised you? Did you form any friendships?

Well, I loved being around Carnie Wilson because she was always so funny. She reminded me of one of my aunts from New York. She’s just very blunt and just tells it how it is and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself. She was vulgar, too, which I love. She wasn’t scared to talk about anything with me, which was great.

You’re the youngest this season. Was that an advantage?

Yeah, I mean some of the tasks were about technology and being a millennial, I feel like I kind of understood that more. But I think I was more at a disadvantage because people kind of had more of a background in business. You know, I just started with this five-six years ago and they’ve been doing this their entire lives. It was just nice to be able to learn from others. It was also nice, the fact that everyone was so sweet to me and just helped teach me, I guess.

Was there a particular lesson you took from this?

You always learn something when you do a competitive show, especially about yourself. When it comes to my business, I need to be more assertive and I guess not be too afraid to be the boss.

Well, talk about your business. You have your online store. What’s going on with that?

So, I have my clothing line at along with a couple of my other products and then I have my Etsy store where I kind of just make things for my fans, which is great because it’s a good connection for them and me. And then just working on other projects. I’d love to get back on reality TV somehow obviously, aside from “The Apprentice.” So I’m working hard — me and Jenni [“JWoww” Farley], we have our viral series on YouTube, “Moms with Attitudes,” so it’s just about us being millennial moms. So that’s great! But we definitely want to get back on cable and figure out the next reality show for us.

There have been a lot of “Jersey Shore” alums who have done competition shows. Why has that been the next step?

I think that’s just where reality shows are going right now. I mean, sometimes it just gets boring to follow people around all the time and they need a new concept. And the new concept right now is competition shows — they’re like, shows how to fix your marriage. Something that guarantees drama and conflict.

You were at the forefront of reality TV. How would you have done things differently knowing what you know now?

Honestly I wouldn’t change anything, what I’ve done or what has happened, from “Jersey Shore.” Because I feel it just brought me to where I am today. But I mean reality is definitely changing. It’s not how it used to be with “Jersey Shore” because that wasn’t scripted at all, unfortunately. That was all real. I feel like shows like that just don’t happen anymore. The producers got to script it and set up themes. It’s just not the same. So I think that’s why everyone is so obsessed with competition shows now.

Your charity on “The Apprentice” is the North Shore Animal League. Why is that important to you?

I wanted to definitely do something to give back to the animals, try to save them as much as possible, especially because a lot of shelters are kill shelters. With the North Shore Animal League, they promote and they help anti-kill shelters, which is great. So, I feel like that charity connected with me to where we can support shelters that don’t kill the animals just because they’re not being adopted.

Do you have any pets now?

I have two cats at my mom’s house just because my husband’s allergic. I’m a cat woman, so I kind of had to choose between my husband and cats. And obviously I chose my husband. It sucks.

On TV: “The New Celebrity Apprentice” premieres on Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. on NBC/4.

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